It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
Are you looking for a new family tradition, or a festive outing to enjoy with family or friends?
Lights displays, festivals and events to boost your holiday spirit can be found all over Utah. Christmas is an especially good time to introduce your kids to the fine arts through the theatre, ballet or symphony.
Most Utahns celebrate Christmas, but this list is open to all family-friendly religious, cultural and seasonal celebrations that fit into the “holiday events” category. Most of Utah’s counties are represented, and listed alphabetically. Use these links to jump to populous places quickly.
If you need a little Christmas right this very minute, take your pick!
Christmas in Color
Imagine 1.5 million twinkling lights, perfectly synchronized to a Christmas soundtrack. It’s pretty amazing and you can see it at Christmas in Color in South Jordan and Provo. SAVE 15% on admission when you use my coupon code: familytripsincolor.
Dickens Christmas Festival
The Dickens Christmas Festival is a unique entertainment and shopping experience. Olde English shops, hundreds of period costumes, fortune tellers, orphans, royalty, and the “real” Father Christmas all combine for a Christmas experience like no other! Held in Salt Lake City and St. George in early December.
The Forgotten Carols
Michael McLean’s inspiring Christmas musical will be performed on stages throughout Utah this season. In 2017, see it in Logan, Ogden, Murray, Orem, Richfield and St. George.
Pickleville Playhouse Christmas
Juanito Bandito’s Christmas Carol puts a hilarious spin on a holiday classic with Pickleville Playhouse’s signature character as the star. The show plays in Logan and Salt Lake City on select dates in December.
Box Elder County
Willard Bay State Park
Willard Bay State Park once again presents its Fantasy at the Bay Christmas Lights. This lights display is a paid, drive through experience. It’s even better with special 3D glasses. You’ll have an opportunity to meet Santa and sip cocoa in a unique setting.
Christmas Town Festival
Helper has claimed the title of Utah’s Christmas Town, and they celebrate each year with a Christmas Festival from mid-November through early December. Enjoy a craft fair, lighting ceremony, electric light parade, chili dinner and breakfast with Santa.
CenterPoint Legacy Theatre
CenterPoint typically performs two Christmas plays throughout the holiday season in its beautiful, multi-venue Davis Center for the Performing Arts. In 2017, it’s A Christmas Carol and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.
Layton City Lights in the Park
Layton City presents a free lights display in Layton Commons Park. Drive or walk through an eclectic menagerie that grows each year. Nearby, Burger Stop offers hay rides through the park for a small fee, which is donated to charity.
Duchesne Cowboy Christmas
This one looks so fun. The main event is The Rhinestone Roper Wild West Show. Other activities include kids’ games, a police dog demo and… Cow Pie BINGO.
Beautifully decorated Christmas trees are sponsored by community groups and businesses to be auctioned for charity. This favorite Roosevelt event is happening in mid-November and is free to attend. Santa will be there!
Christmas Tree Festival
Garfield County hosts its very own festival of trees at the Garfield County Fair Building in mid-November. Admission is free. Proceeds from the auction benefit the local hospital.
Tree Lighting and Electric Light Parade
The Moab Chamber of Commerce sponsors a tree lighting and electric light parade the first weekend of December. It will be held the same weekend as the Winter Sun Run 10K.
MARC Holiday Art and Craft Fair
Find unique, hand crafted gifts at the Moab Arts and Recreation Center Holiday Art and Craft Fair. Held the first weekend of December.
Christmas in the Country
Christmas in the Country is a full weekend of Christmas festivities at the Iron County Fairgrounds in Parowan. The event features a holiday bazaar, concert, interfaith Christmas program, parade and lighting ceremony.
Frontier Homestead State Park Museum
Frontier Homestead hosts two Christmas events in December: Christmas at the Homestead and Homestead Holiday Market. The museum will be decorated for the Christmas, with special holiday activities added to its usual hands-on historic exhibits. The Pioneer Market is an opportunity to shop for classic, hand-made crafts and gifts.
Kanab Holiday Kickoff
Kanab starts the holiday season on Thanksgiving weekend with a fun multi-day event. Highlights include a fun run, Christmas light parade, lantern launch, hay rides, Santa Claus and more.
Delta City Light Parade and Celebration
Delta starts the holiday season with a light parade down Main Street. Follow the parade to the Millard County Fair Building for entertainment, refreshments and Santa Claus.
Salt Lake County
Ballet West’s The Nutcracker
Did you know? Ballet West has the oldest and longest running American production of The Nutcracker. And it’s magnificent in the historic Capitol Theatre. New sets, costumes and special effects keep this holiday tradition fresh for every generation.
Desert Star Theatres
Murray’s Desert Star Playhouse is Utah’s home of family-friendly comedy. This year’s holiday production is Desert Star’s Christmas Vacation: The Polarized Express. ‘Nuff said.
Festival of Trees
We love this popular annual event that supports Primary Children’s Medical Center. We have even donated trees in the past. See rows and rows of Christmas trees, wreaths, gingerbread houses and more. Enjoy live entertainment and find unique homemade gifts.
Christmas in the Wizarding World
Love Harry Potter? You won’t want to miss this hugely popular event at the Shops at South Town in Sandy. It’s like shopping in Hogsmeade. Open daily through January 2018!
Hale Centre Theatre
Hale’s huge new theatre in Sandy is OPEN! Hale will be performing its classic version of A Christmas Carol and several dates were sold out by mid-November. This is the hottest theatre ticket in town.
Zoo Lights is back! Winter is a great time to visit the zoo because its cold-loving polar bear, big cats and others are up and about. Stay after dark for one of Utah’s top holiday lights displays.
Larry H. Miller Christmas Carole Sing-Along
Help fill Vivint Smart Home Arena with Christmas songs! This free holiday event features local musical artists and celebrities, and guests receive refreshment and holiday gift bags while supplies last. This year’s event will be held December 18, 2017 from 7-8 pm.
Temple Square has long been one of the best Christmas light displays in Utah, and it’s a wonderful place to focus on Jesus Christ. Twinkling lights, a life-size nativity and creches from around the globe adorn the outdoors. Live musical performances and beautifully decorated Christmas trees fill every building at Temple Square.
This is the Place Heritage Park
This is the Place hosts two big events during the Christmas season: Christkindlmarkt and Candlelight Christmas. Christkindlmarkt is a shopping and community experience inspired by the famous German Christmas Markets. Candlelight Christmas is an old-fashioned pioneer Christmas, held in the evenings. Meet Father Christmas, see a live Nativity and take a Christmas train around the village.
My extended family attends Here Comes Santa Claus at Abravanel Hall every year. It’s a Christmas tradition that goes back to when I was a kid. The Utah Symphony offers a variety of holiday themed performances throughout the season, from The Messiah Sing In to Harry Potter.
Manti Light Parade
Start the season with a festive electric light parade on Manti’s Main Street.
Christmas Main Street Lighting
Come one, come all to Mt. Pleasant’s annual “Old Fashioned Christmas”. Mr. & Mrs. Santa fly in to see all the children. Entertainment from the elementary school classes. Free Wagon rides around town. Games and prizes for children. Chili and Scones. Free Hot Chocolate and Cookies.
Christmas Firework Spectacular
Snow College hosts an electric light parade, followed by fireworks. Santa Claus visits the Greenwood Student Center.
This free concert is a Sanpete County tradition. With a combined choir and orchestra of musicians from Snow College and the community, the great masterwork of Handel is performed. It’s a great way to celebrate the Christmas season!
Santa Claus arrives in Richfield
Santa Claus arrives in Richfield the day after Thanksgiving on a fire truck. He will visit with children at his workshop next to the post office that day and every Saturday until Christmas.
Christmas Tree Lane
This Christmas tradition has become a huge community event sponsored by the Richfield Area Chamber of Commerce. Decorated trees from area businesses and organizations line the lobby and halls of the Sevier Valley Center. Entertainment is presented in the theatre and Santa Claus makes an appearance each year.
Richfield’s Christmas Light Parade
Richfield’s Main Street becomes a display of the holiday spirit during the annual Christmas Light Parade. This holiday tradition has become one of Utah’s premiere events.
The Egyptian Theatre will put your family in a festive mood with two holiday productions. Egyptian Youtheatre presents Elf Jr. in 2017. The following weekend, Park City celebrates its local talent at the annual Holiday Spectacular. The audience will join in with a choir-led sing along.
Park City Electric Parade
Park City kicks off the holiday season with style with an electric parade and festivities on Thanksgiving weekend. Santa will be there as the city lights Historic Main Street and the city tree. Prizes are awarded for best entries.
Park Silly Holiday Bazaar
The Park Silly Holiday Bazaar is the holiday version of the popular Park City Sunday Market that happens in Park City every summer. Find crafts, gifts and family-friendly entertainment at this indoor shopping event.
Park City Torchlight Parade
This Christmas Eve tradition is as old as Park City Mountain Resort – 55 years and counting! The evening begins with holiday music and holiday cheer at the base of the mountain. The torchlight parade is on the mountain, on skis!
Community Holly Days
This Thanksgiving weekend event in downtown Vernal boasts long list of FREE activities for families. Highlights include a Grinch lookalike contest, Gingerbread Houses and a light parade.
Hale Center Theatre
God bless us, everyone! The Orem Hale Center Theatre’s musical version of A Christmas Carol is a holiday tradition for many families in Utah County. See it performed by one of the best theatre companies in the state.
Luminaria at Thanksgiving Point
The beautiful Ashton Gardens are transformed into a spectacular nighttime light display unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Walk through the inspiring Light of the World garden, see 5,000 luminaries create changing pictures on the hillside and enjoy family activities.
Spanish Fork Festival of Lights
Spanish Fork’s fantastic drive-through light display has been delighting families for more than 25 years! Find it at Canyon View Park each night from Thanksgiving through the New Year.
Heber Valley Railroad
The Heber Valley Railroad’s North Pole Express is a fun and unusual tradition that many families love. Enjoy hot cocoa and Mrs. Claus’ cookies on this festive trip to the North Pole. Santa visits with every child and has a gift for each one.
Christmas in Midway
Midway is arguably the most charming small town in Utah and it’s even lovelier during the holidays. The city hosts holiday celebrations throughout December, including a creche exhibit, Swiss Christmas and a town party.
Midway Ice Castles
Walk through a wondrous ice castle with slides and tunnels and beautiful sculpture. The Midway Ice Castles are a magical place. The Ice Castles are weather dependent, so they may not quite be open by Christmas. They usually open by late December.
Santa Sleigh Rides
Ride in a horse-drawn sleigh from Soldier Hollow and through Wasatch State Park to the humble home of Santa Claus himself. What a fun way to meet Santa!
Jubilee of Trees
This fun November event raises funds for cancer treatment at Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George. See beautifully decorated trees and attend special events like the Teddy Bear Picnic, which is especially fun for kids.
Kickoff to Christmas
St. George starts the season in late November with a big party in Town Square, next to the Children’s Museum. Local country artists will perform Christmas songs. Plan for carousel rides, a fun run, gingerbread house contest, lighting ceremony and Santa, of course!
St. George Temple Visitors Center
The St. George Temple grounds will be covered in Christmas lights throughout the season and local musical groups will perform Christ-centered music nearly every night of the season. Admission is free.
Tuacahn’s Christmas in the Canyon
Fairy Tale Christmas premieres at Tuacahn for Christmas 2017. We were there on opening weekend and it’s a great holiday show! It’s also just the tip of the iceberg. A live Nativity program, ice skating, train rides and Santa are also fun for families throughout the season. Learn more in my post 5 Ways to Enjoy Tuacahn at Christmas Time.
Ogden Christmas Village
I visited the Ogden Christmas Village when I was young, and now I take my own kids every year. It’s bigger and better than ever. Whimsical Christmas scenes fill the windows of small houses in Ogden Municipal Gardens. Lights fill the trees and Santa waits to hear Christmas wishes.
Terrace Plaza Playhouse
The Terrace Plaza Playhouse presents its classic Scrooge: A Christmas Carol. It’s a heartwarming retelling of a favorite Christmas story that has been a local favorite for more than 25 years. Terrace Plaza Playhouse is theatre in the round, which offers an intimate theatre experience that is good for all ages.
The Ziegfeld Theater stays true to its comedy improv roots with an annual re-write of A Fairly Potter Christmas Carol. My daughter performs in this Harry Potter spoof, so it’s sure to be the best Christmas Carol in Utah. 😉 Ziegfeld Youth Theatre will also present A Fairy Tale Christmas Carol in 2017.
Want me to add a holiday event to this list? Email me at [email protected]